Friday, December 24, 2010

Still my Black Angel

You might expect that my relationship with Iona would be damaged by our wreck. I have to say "No." My confidence is in good shape, and I don't bear her any ill will. She was just being a horse. She certainly didn't respect my space at that moment, but she wasn't acting aggressively toward me. She had no idea that pushing me out of the way would injure me. It would be nothing to another horse, after all. Let's move on.

A couple of days after the accident I thought I'd try some Liberty. I figured that losing the rope was a plus, since I only had one hand. We headed for the roundpen to try out some stuff Jena Cody had shown us. What I got was a very confused pony. My stick was in the "wrong" hand half the time! We hung in there and finished the session, but I had to stop and think about this. Did I really want to teach a bunch of new cues that would be pointless in a couple of months? No! Were we ready to go stickless? Huh-uh. Were the other Savvies going to be easier? HAHAHAHA!!!

Another day I thought I might have a little ride. It was windy, and I couldn't really warm up effectively. I dragged her to the mounting block anyway and wrestled her into position. I got halfway on and she said "Don't do this!" So I lay on her like a green colt for a moment and jumped off the other side. That was my ride.

Recently, I have been for a couple of rides around the property with friends. My arm is a little more useful, and fairly safe in the brace. On the first ride, Iona took off for the comfort of the herd twice and I couldn't stop her. However, it all felt pretty safe, and kind of got me over my worries about riding with The Arm. Sunday, I was out again with Denise riding Bruce and Sara on Sage. We did spend time warming up, and I was amazed at how responsive and connected Iona was in the arena. The ride went pretty well, too.

So today I thought I'd play for a bit. I have tried to continue to work on the Porcupine game, especially in Zone 1. Today we continued that and I wasn't thrilled with how it went. One of the things I tried was leading by the ear. We can kinda do this, but it's not pretty. This evening I was suddenly hit  by a picture of  me just grabbing her ear and pulling. Eek! Now, it wasn't quite like that, but it probably seemed like it to her. Shucks, I'm supposed to be doing this in the name of  lightness and responsiveness. Maybe I should try to offer some. You know, go slow...reward the slightest try. Great! I think I know where I'm going wrong with this.

However, we had some good stuff, too. We were in a small pen with no toys. How to be provocative? Porcupine and Driving in the other Zones was pretty good. I tried a little Zone 5 Driving using just my hands. She is very sensitive to whether I'm asking her to go forward or back. I love that! It really does feel magical. Turning to left and right is a little harder, but if we concentrate, we can. We also backed in a circle and kept the belly of the rope on the ground. We played a fun game where I positioned her so that each of her feet in turn had to step on a piece of brick that was on the ground. We did lead by the leg with just my hand around her hock. What a cool pony I have!

I needed to pick up empty hay nets from the track. I thought we might ride part of that trip. I clipped on a set of reins. (I recently got a set of 7' ones, and what a difference it makes to have some the right length!) However, she felt a little high to me, so I sort of rode her from the ground, using the reins to cue her most of the way, and as a lead rope once I had my hand full of nets. Then we had a little ride in the arena. That went well. I tried not to use the reins at all. There were quite a few cones and barrels and stuff scattered around, and I tried to use them as markers, so that I wasn't too aimless. She was spot on with almost everything I asked her.


  1. Great to read you're relationship with Iona still horses are the best! lol. Having only one hand/arm really must have made you think differently when doing everything, not a good thing to have a break but good in the fact that it's stretched your savvy that way ;-) Keep getting better and enjoying Iona...give her an Xmas hug from me ;-)) <3

  2. Will give her the hug, Shelley.

    You know what they say - "Once you've had black you'll never go back!"

    Happy Hols!